Brand Development: The Importance of Understanding Your Market
Brand development is foundational in establishing your business identity in crowded marketplaces.
The goal of brand development is to define and evolve your company’s image, in such a way that it aligns with your corporate culture and identity. Your brand development should have tangible goals and be executed as a part of a brand development plan.
Brand development is a continuous process that starts during the bootstrapping of your company.
During this frantic period of setting up your company, brand development is often over-looked; the perception being that it will just establish itself.
It is, however, vitally important to start and plan for brand development from the outset!
A lot has been written about brand development, and a good overview of brand development can be found in this post on the DomainQuick website – a company which specialises in start-up bootstrapping.
The importance of understanding your market is central to conducting brand development.
But exactly how do you come to that understanding?
We’ll try to help. This post will outline 7 important questions that you need to be asking!
Understanding your market
As the well-respected marketer, Peter Drucker, once said:
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
A lofty ideal, but surely one worth pursuing!
Indeed, understanding the market is central to understanding the customer and gaining competitor insights.
Market research helps us to gain a broader understanding of the market, but you need to be asking the right questions.
- Who is your target customer?
- What connection do you have with your customers?
- Who are the main competitors in your space?
- What makes you distinct from your competitors?
- Do your clients trust you and why?
- What value are you bringing to the market?
- What tone does your company and your brand have?
Let’s now look at each in a bit more detail.
Who is your target customer?
Your target audience represents the demographic of people most likely to be interested in your product or service.
Target audiences share similar traits, such as, age, gender, educational background, social status and region.
Your target customer is an important input into your brand development.
What connection do you have with your customers?
Brands are very personal things, and the best brands have an emotional connection with their customers.
Understanding the connection that you have with your customers can help you to build a lasting bond that instills brand loyalty.
Who are the main competitors in your space?
Competitor insights help you to understand who the big players are in your space.
They answer a number of questions, including, who the market leaders are; the top products and services; seasonal trends; how competitors drive target users to their products, and many more.
By gaining such insights, you can feed this into your brand development strategy and identify opportunities for penetration.
What makes you distinct from your competitors?
A distinctive edge is important, particularly in crowded markets. Companies go to great lengths to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Finding out what makes you distinct from your competitors can play an important part in defining your brand strategy.
Do your clients trust you and why?
Consumer trust is vitally important in today’s global market. Buying online requires a certain amount of trust that the company will deliver the product or service.
A recent survey highlighted transparency as a key factor for consumers, with 73% of consumers considering transparency more important than price.
Building trust should be foundational in your brand development strategy.
What value are you bringing to the market?
Perceptions of value can vary significantly dependent on a number of factors. The important thing is that your products and services are perceived as having value.
A good brand development strategy should focus on the value proposition and how that is perceived by the consumer.
It is worth pointing out that value does not necessarily mean cheapest; it is about having a perception of value relative to the product or service being offered.
What tone does your company and your brand have?
The tone of your product or service is important and will help consumers to understand and connect with it.
There are a number of brand tones, including:
The tone of your brand will help to convey a particular message or mood and associate it with your product or service offering. Your brand should have a clear self-image that is evident in its tone.
In this post we looked at the importance of understanding your market in the context of brand development.
We identified 7 questions that need to be answered in order to take your brand development in the right direction.
Ultimately brand development yields a brand! But establishing the right brand for your organization means ensuring you follow a brand development strategy.
Brand development is an ongoing process, and your brand will grow and evolve as your company grows.